Thursday, December 14, 2006

End of Semester One Reflections-2

What changes have you seen this semester in regards to your education? What role did technology play in that change? What role did the constructivist philosophy play in that change? (constructivist-students becoming producers of information, students in charge of their own learning)

Make sure to include specific examples and expand on each other's ideas.


Blogger paigen said...

My education has definitely changed. I now can connect various pieces of literature with ease, and the more I think about it, the more connections I find. My writing has also gotten a lot better. I think that the laptops definitely have helped my education for the better. It is so nice to be able to ask your classmates questions you have on books and discussing the books online really help me remember the material and see connections. I don't know what I am going to do without the laptops, I guess it will be back to education as usual. But even without the laptops, I will still remember everything they taught me.

Thu Dec 14, 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger joshb said...

In this class, most of the students used their laptops to produce information and as a helping tool through school. We could come in and check our grades and talk to our teacher about missing assignments and we could communicate without disrupting what others had to say. I thought that the laptops were the most empowering tool that I have ever used in my education. I think that all students should have the same opportunity that we have had. All students should be able to have control over their education and that is what happens when you have a laptop.

Thu Dec 14, 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger elyse h said...

Technology has made an incredible change in my learning. I never would have even imagined how much a laptop can change the way someone learns. I feel like I am more in charge of my own learning now because there are so many sources on a computer that you can learn from and use to clarify whatever you are trying to do. Although we still do have the teacher to guide us along we can go above and beyond the regular expectations using technology. There are so many programs I've never even heard of that have helped me so much. I don't think i would have ever understanded Macbeth if i hadn't had it on the computer so i could highlight it and look things up it was just so much easier. I think that technology has become an easier way to learn faster. For me this seems to be like the best way i've ever been taught. I've learned so much more than i thought i would and i'm able to look at things in a different and deeper way. Laptops deffinately inhance the constructivist philosophy by giving us a tool to help teach ourselves. Technology has helped me more than i ever thought it would.

Thu Dec 14, 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger HannahJ said...

There have been many changes in my education since I started out in this class this year. With the ability to use the laptops, I now think about projects and assignments in a different way. I also think that my education has definitely been strengthened by the use of the laptops and doing the fishbowls. You get to hear other people's opinions about situations in the book we're reading or connections they've made that you might have not even thought about.
In normal classes, you hardly ever get to hear someone else's opinion or sometimes you might not even get to make your own. What you need to think is fed to you from the teacher and you don't have a choice of whether you want to believe that or not.
Technology has helped our learning so much this year, whether we were typing out an essay test, blogging, or fishbowling on skype, everything has added to our learning.

Thu Dec 14, 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger briang said...

One huge change I saw in my learning this semester in my education was the ability to direct my own learning. In this class, we were given many freedoms that other classes did not allow. We directed where we were going and we decided how we were going to do many things, not only as a class but as individuals as well. In this class there was no rubric, and there wasn’t someone there to hold your hand and help you through everything. In this class, we had to responsible for our assignments, and had to do many things on our own.
Technology played a large role in our new learning, mostly because we changed many of the more tradition ways of learning to a more technology based learning. We used online books for annotating, etc. We also used programs like blogger (which ironically we are using now) and skype to have discussions over literature. The technology gave us more independence and put more responsibility on us.
The role constructivist philosophy played was important as well. Like I mentioned earlier, we were in charge of our learning most of the time. This is a totally different concept then regular classes, because the students in this class are not always the consumers, but also the producers.

Thu Dec 14, 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger endsleye said...

This semester I have noticed that my education has changed a lot from how it was in middle school. I have learned to take things at a faster pace, multitask better (reading one book in class and another at home), take in more information at a time, and many other things. Using that laptops has helped several aspects of my learning this year. I was able to take more notes during class because I can type faster then I can write on a piece of paper. I was also able to keep my information more organized because everything was on one small USB instead of hundreds of pieces of paper. Also the laptops helped because when I didn’t know a word I could just use the internet to look up what the word meant or look up anything else I needed to. Laptops also helped during fishbowl because when we were discussing something in the center we could just pull up more information on what we were talking about. Using the laptops also helped me to become more of a producer of information instead of a consumer. In pervious years I would rely on the teacher to provide me with all the information. But now I take more and more of my learning into my own hands. I don’t think I would ever be this independent with my learning if it hadn’t been for the laptops.

Thu Dec 14, 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger shaunam said...

This first semester has completely changed the way that I learn and connect with my fellow students. Before this class, I was told what exactly to do and how to do it. Because of the technology, I am no longer limited to a posterboard, but many other things as well. Class discussions are more interesting since we are communicating by talking as well as live blogging. This has definately changed the way that I think about discussions. The laptops have made this all possible. I feel in control about what I am learning and that it is a necessity and not mindless information going in through one ear and out the other. This is not education as usual.

Thu Dec 14, 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger connord said...

I have seen many things that have changed in my education because of this class. Through the many fishbowls that our class has done, I have learned to connect books more than I ever have. Before I would totally forget about a book after I read it, but now I always remember it and I can relate it to other novels. Also I have learned to be more creative due to the extremely broad guidelines on the assignments. In middle school, I could only do what the teacher wanted. Once I even got marked down because my poster board was too big. In Mrs. Smith's class, I am allowed to be more creative with my assignments and won't pay the price for it. The laptops played a large role in my change. With the laptops I can access everything very easily which allows me easier connections. I have all of Macbeth by William Shakespeare on my laptop so I can access that and look for quotes and such instantly. Me being in charge of my own learning and being responsible for it was the main philosophical change. Since I became in charge of my own learning, I have taken it upon myself to learn and try to make connections and such. Before I would just try and see if the teacher would tell me it all. Now I look and find symbols and such in novels by myself. Also, me taking responsibility for my learning has allowed me to realize that I am not getting grades, I am earning them. It is all on me to make my grades not on the teacher.

Thu Dec 14, 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger declanh said...

This semester has been a gift and a curse as far as education goes. The laptops are certainly an asset, although I am afraid they may make it very different in a possibly difficult way for me next year if I don't have laptops. However, in the meantime i'm happy to have them. This technology has played a huge role in changing my education. Before this, I had old-school teachers. The ones that had you read the book, take notes, write and essay, and not do anything to help in the meantime. The laptops make it easier for everyone to help everyone else while we're reading the books. They make fishbowls easier for everyone, and now, everyone gets to participate in the fishbowl, not just the inner circle. Because everyone helps one another, it feels like wew are all in charge of our educations, which is what one of our goals was at the beginning of the year.

Thu Dec 14, 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Each year your education changes, but this year, it changed a lot. We had our own personal laptops and were able to use them to increase our productiveness and learning. This gave us more oppurtunities and freedom to do assignments. This changed what we did in terms of work some ways, such as a powerpoint instead of a poster. This helped, but sometimes, when we were put on our own to work, without the teacher answering questions about the assignment, we would not know what to do, wht she expected. But as time went on, we got better and better at using the laptops. The laptops have changed how we work significantly, but not necessarily how we learn. I think that next semester, the laptops will be even more useful and affect our learning.

Thu Dec 14, 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger jess b said...

This semester has been extremely eye-opening. Not only have I found more insight into the idea of "challenging the system" but also into my learning.

My ability to learn has so much over this semester. I used to only be the one who enjoyed going to school, but, only for the social aspect. Now, I find every day that I actually want to go to English and I am excited about what we will be learning.

Not all the learning that we experienced was because of technology, but, it did make a significant impact. Using laptops allowed us to have instant access to the world, and the knowledge that comes with it. We were able to have the ability to look up a word in a matter of seconds, find online texts, get certain pictures, and make amazing power-point presentations, all on our laptops. We also used many types of communications; like skype and blogger. Our class discussions occurred on these. These "talks" went from average to extreme depth just because we were able to communicate so much quicker.

Technology also impacted our responsibility. Many of us have lost USB's and other projects over the computer. When this happens, however, we learn to keep track of important things and to be responsible for ourselves, even our learning. It was not up to the teacher to tell us what to learn. We told ourselves what we needed to be educated on.

Our "constructivist" idea presented a whole new chapter in our lives. By us being allowed to learn what we want and to take learning into our hands only made us better students and more knowledgeable.

Thu Dec 14, 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger tanal said...

The changes I have seen in my education is that I have been able to connect my learning in between classes more often and incorporate what we learn in this class to my other classes. Also I have been able to take control of my learning this semester in this english class. I think that technology has played a huge role in my learning and that it has helped these changes happen by opening up new opportunities and new ways to learn, "This is not education as usual." The Lap tops have created new pathways and a more broad way to learn by all the unlimited resources. Also I think that students being producers of information and being in charge of their education has helped our new learning environment. We would not have been able to have as many changes in our education if students didn't have more responsibility and more freedom in their learning. The students in control of their learning and being producers of information is what made our classroom, "This is not education as usual," and that is what caused our changes in our education.

Thu Dec 14, 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Phillips said...

I definitely think I have more of an interest in learning in general this semester. last year I was usually bored and doing only what was needed. This year, due in part by the laptops, I was more interested and involved with this and other classes. The laptop opened up more possibilities for expanding my learning. Like when we were reading Macbeth, I could look up words that I didn't know right during class, it was much easier with Word's dictionary feature. Also, I took notes right in the document and actually looked back at the notes later. I became more involved with my own learning this semester, and the laptops were a catalyst for that.

Thu Dec 14, 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger alexm said...

This semester for me has been both a charm and an anchor. They both have advantages, and for certian, disadvatages, but one thing is for sure: I had fun. I never once regretted haveing to come to class becuase it was class (although I have when I'm feeling crappy).
Anyways, my education seemed alot more worthwhile while in this room. In past classes, I walked out at the end of a year thinking nothing at all of what we'd done. This year, I know for a fact that I will walk out knowing that I learned some things that will stay with me. These things don't necessarily have anything to do with what we were supposed to do.
I will walk out knowing that I may never be in a classroom where everyone is willing to participate (albeit sometimes begrudgingly), and there is always something to look forward to. Smith's class has opened my eyes to what my education CAN BE, like no other person so far in my rather insignificant life. If I do not get the opportunities to use the technology that we have this semester, I will be greatly disappointed. I know that it is our block, 2nd Hour, that may change education for the future. I didn't really realize that the future was now, until well, now.
There definite ups and downs to what we had to do. But thats just part of the environment.
I for one, dearly hope that we can have a laptop for every student while I am still here.

Thu Dec 14, 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger christa s said...

I think that now, at the end of the first semester, I am better able to ask questions and analyze what I read and apply it to my life. Just last night I was thinking about something totally unrelated to English and I connected it to The Chosen. I feel kind of nerdy when that happens, but now I can make connections without really thinking about them too much. I think that having the laptops in the classroom helped me to become a producer of information, rather than just a consumer. I like the blogging and how I can ask my classmates questions about the books we are reading, and how I can also just get on the Internet to find extra information to clarify what I am reading, instead of lugging around a huge textbook or getting out an encyclopedia. I think that the laptops made my learning more efficient, and I feel like I am thinking more independently than last year.

Thu Dec 14, 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger kjerstinl said...

One thing that has changed is that I'm not as freaked out about english. I know just go with the flow and I feel like there isn't so muchc to worry about. I actually feel prepared for everyday and there is a confidence that I have gained through the first semester.

Technology helped with my development. I learned how to use the computer to my advantage to become stronger(like when writing or just to do research), but I also learned that not everything has to be done on these laptops, and creation has to take into play (like the challenging the system banners). I learned how to annotate, how to connect to many things to our text, and how to multitask inbetween discussions. The use of technology in discussions has been my favorite. I love how we're able to hear everyone's opinion because every opinion can lead to a greater discussion. People who don't like discussions as much (which used to be me) can say what they want without actually joining into the middle conversation. Plus, I learned that with something small, we might be able to change the teaching system itself.

I feel that I have become a producer of information. I ask questions all the time in my reading. I see connections to other texts, to the world, to even my life. I feel as if our class has built upon one another to make one another better, to help one another learn with our own problems and our own mistakes. For example, our mistakes with skype, or our in-class essays. With myself in charge of my learning, I've realized that I really understand more. When I understand it more, I tend to like it more too. For example, Macbeth. When I started reading Macbeth, I had no idea what was going on. Through discussions though and annotating the text numerous times and actually taking the time to really READ, I slowly began to understand.

Thu Dec 14, 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger kimmy c said...

In this first semester of high school, I have had an interesting learning experience, by using laptops in English class. We have done journals, power points, papers, and many other creative projects using computers. It has been a great learning experience to be able to tap into the world of technology to get to information faster and easier, as well as get pictures, and ideas. I didn’t find it hard at all to get used to using a computer instead of paper to write down notes. In fact, I think it was easier all along for me to take notes on a computer, because I type much faster than I write, and it is easier to read what I write then to read what I write. Also, I found that work was never lost this semester, because I always had it on my USB. I began to feel less fearful of losing my homework, and I started to relax into high school. Now I feel that because I have so much available to me that I could be able to write good papers that others could use for guidelines, just by using the computer, I could become a producer of information. I feel like I am accomplishing more, and with the blogs that Mrs. Smith posts, I feel that everyone else can see my growth, as I can see theirs.

Thu Dec 14, 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger _annaw_ said...

Before school had started, and I had just gotten my schedule, my mom and I went around to all of my classes to make sure I knew where they were. We walked into Ms. Smith’s room, and I remember thinking,” What is in those cabinets? Why are they locked up?” When I arrived on the first day, and was informed of the fact that this was a laptop class, I like many of the students was overjoyed. What would this class be like? “Challenge the System”? I couldn’t wait to begin school.

After only a few weeks, I found myself a whole different person. I all of the sudden was more organized. Because of the lack of weight in my backpack, I had less junk to carry around with me. I had purchased a USB Jump Drive, and I now use it as back up in case I lose the hard copy of a paper in any class, not just English. This may seem like an exaggeration, but my Biology textbook is now online, saving the school money, I am basically creating my own textbook in Geometry, and the only class I still have a textbook in is History, and even that teacher is talking about switching to online.

As Brian G. said, it is really amazing to be able to control how we learn. It has been proven that every student has a different way of learning, and here we are allowed to learn how we need to, and excel to any and all heights.

Thu Dec 14, 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger AleeA said...

I think that technology was the main contributor to the new form of learning this semester because it opened so many new doors for me as a student. Suddenly in class we were able to look up things and incorporate them in our learning, allowing us to expand and therefore learn more. I loved experimenting with the new forms of communication such as Blogger and Skype, and I like being able to think that what we are doing now will impact what happens in the classrooms of future students. Like Ms. Smith says, this is not education as usual.

I also think that all the students in our class really evolved this past semester from the little middle-schoolers that started school back in August. Through all of my classes, but especially English, I learned how to take responsibility of my learning and not expect the teacher to do it for me. Over this semester, and I think this applies to others, I have discovered that our teachers are here to teach us the basics, but it is our job to expand on what they teach and in the end, teach ourselves the real skills there are to know. Our teachers are there to give us a helping hand, but it is our job to choose our own path.

This brings me to one last thing, challenging the system. I believe that this whole semester has been a symbolic experience of what it takes to challenge the system. We have all been forced to defy the odds, take matters into our own hands, and just tough through the first semester of high school! We have learned how to really connect what we read to other things, sometimes other books we have read or our own personal lives! By having the laptops in our class, we have worked to show others the advantages and disadvantages of them, and I think that they positively benefit our learning. By doing all of this, we have challenged the system of learning. It is pretty cool to think that we were living the curriculum we were being taught.

Although this semester had some “bumps in the road”, it has helped me acquire new steps and strategies that will help me throughout the rest of my life.

Thu Dec 14, 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger KathrynT said...

Over the semester I have found that my education has changed a decent amount, partially because of the technology, and mostly because of the way we run this class. As producers of information, I feel that I have become more outspoken and it is easier for me to talk to a group. In class, with the technology, we have more freedom and we have learned to take control of our learning. With the fishbowl discussions, we use our own knowledge and do not rely on everyone else to lead us. I tend to take more of a leadership role now than I ever had in the past, and it is showing up in my everyday life. With the freedom we have, it is a lot easier and a lot more fun to take control of the classroom, instead of just following a regular routine of just listening and answering questions that the teacher asks. We ask our own questions and seek to answer them ourselves.

Thu Dec 14, 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger EmilyH said...

Wow. This semester has brought so many changes, in many different avenues of learning. Not only did we have the change of going from middle school to high school, but we were now expected to be in charge of our own education.

First I want to talk about Student-based classrooms. When you think about it, what is the point of teacher-based classrooms? Really, What is a school? A place for STUDENTS. What are teachers? people to guide STUDENTS. Why are teachers here? to help STUDENTS learn. Do you get my pattern here? school only exists for the STUDENTS. What then, is the explanation behind teacher based classrooms? I can't think of one. This type of education is getting out-dated by the (much better) constructivist system of learning.

In seventh and eigth grade I was in the GT language arts program where everything was student based, and I learned so much those years that actually stayed in my head over summer break. We had Trials where we would learn about a historical event and then act out a trial for one of the key players. We had to make our own strategy, questions and opening and closing statements. Not only was this fun and educational but student led.

Having the laptops in a student-based classroom only enhanced what we could do to guide our education. We have so much information at our fingers that we can go so much deeper into our learning than was possible before. While in other classrooms it might have taken a special trip to the computer lab or an overnight research period we can research information in just minutes, then spend the time we saved discussing it or delving deeper into the concept.

As i'm sure many people have said, the student based classroom setting along with the added technology have pushed us to go deeper, to make connections, and to challenge what other have previously said. We are now running along with the rest of the world, instead of standing still and being left behind.

Thu Dec 14, 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger chelseah said...

This semester I have experienced some big changes. First of all, coming into a class where each student has their own laptop is a huge change. I especially liked that my English class was the one that I got to have a laptop in, because we do so much writing in an English class. I found that the laptops were a great way to find a deeper understanding of all of the material in class. I also liked how even though we had the laptops almost everyday, Ms. Smith still chose to not allow us to use the laptops. This was good because I think that we would have gotten a little too dependent on the laptops, and so not using them kind of made a jump back to reality, or just like what all of the other classes have to do. The laptops were probably the biggest change of the first semester, for me at least, but I found that Ms. Smith’s teaching style is unlike any other I have experienced. After all, as Ms. Smith says: “This is not education as usual.” At the beginning of the year, I was a bit confused about that saying, and didn’t really know what to make of it, but as the semester went on, I found that that saying became more and more apparent in our daily learning. Ms. Smith found new ways to get the same outcome, just getting there in a much more creative way, and often times more fun. She was the creator of the fishbowl, which I found extremely beneficial. I really like learning in new ways, and with Ms. Smith, we did that everyday. We students really began to take charge of our learning. We had many visitors to come and watch us, and as Ms. Smith told us, this had never happened before, and was a huge deal. This was also a change for me, because I was not used to being able to make my own decisions, and essentially, choose what we wanted to do with certain assignments. I really liked all of this freedom and responsibility. This semester has been filled with change, with the technology and teaching styles.

Thu Dec 14, 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah C said...

At the beginning of the semester, I hadn’t expected having to be in charge of my own education. I had always been used to people telling me what to do, what to write, what to say, etc. in my English class. So when I came to Arapahoe, imagine my surprise when I found that that was no longer the policy anymore! I was lost at the beginning, and wasn’t sure what would happen this semester (especially with the laptops). Now that the semester is over, I realize how being in charge of my learning has affected me. I have become used to taking charge of my education. I feel like I can talk more in depth about novels, and that I am able to make more connections and notes. I feel more independent and free than I ever did in Middle School. All of these changes in me have boosted me to higher levels. Now I’m not unsure about my education here at Arapahoe anymore, I am positive that I will be able to handle school now that I now how to challenge myself and teach myself.
The laptops have also affected my education. Before high school, I had no idea what Blogger was or what Skype was. I was a slow typist, and a slower note-taker as well. That all changed when I entered this classroom. Since that first day of entering high school, I feel like I wouldn’t even be able to recognize who I was (as a student) anymore. I was nit-picky, slow, and way to detailed. These are not all bad things, except when it comes to writing, having to meet the deadline, and taking notes. So, it really affected my learning in this classroom, because we are always fast paced, moving from one thing to another. However, after using the laptops I am faster at typing, can use the computer more efficiently, and can think at higher levels. Skype and Blogger have really helped me this semester because they provide a way for me to talk to other student about a book, and get their opinion on it. It really expands my learning and helps me get the whole concept of a chapter, excerpt, book, and so on. I wouldn’t trade laptops this laptop class for any other class.
Overall, the laptops and taking charge of my education have really expanded my learning and made me an independent learner.

Thu Dec 14, 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger ADRIANA G said...

This semester was probably more productive than my entire 8th grade year. We were encouraged to take charge of our own education. The philosophy behind this class was insteresting and very helpful. We were expected to be unique and try something different. Many classes don't ever try to be different. There are some teachers who have been teaching for a long time and decide to just do the same boring lessons and activities every year. They all teach in the same boring style. One of the best parts about this class was that it helped me and, I think Ms. Smith too, to learn from our experiences. We tried different things and evaluated them, learning what to do and what not to do. It was unlike my class last year when we were taught a lesson and that was the end. We didn't learn anything beyond the simple facts.
Technology played a big part in this class and philosophy. We worked with many different types of technology for projects, discussions, and pretty much everything else. Having our laptops as a tool allowed me to be creative and really show what I learned. In the fishbowl discussions, we could develop ideas together and hear from peoplein the class that we normally wouldn't. Technology really helped me take charge of my education and make myself a better student.

Thu Dec 14, 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger saram said...

This semester has completely changed the way I look at education and how effective it can be to use different ways to teach. Last year we were told exactly what to do and how to do things. If we did a project, everyone's looked exactly the same. This year, on the very first day of school, we got so much freedom that it was overwhelming. It was even harder to deal with than having no freedom. I have learned to get used to such big changes like that.
The laptops have made a huge impact on the semester also. We have been able to do some many things and learn so much more by just using laptops. This class would have been so much different without them.
Being able to take charge and be in control of our learning made a huge difference this year. We finally got a say in our education and it was a big adjustment. We finally got to learn in a way that was convenient for us.
So, overall, this class has completely gone above my expectations and challenged me.

Thu Dec 14, 08:53:00 AM  

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